“The FBI’s and NYPD’s joint-terrorism task force is made up of over 50 agencies and we are fully engaged on this investigation. It’s still very much in its early stages. Our focus right now — our thoughts and prayers are with the victims,” Michael J. Driscoll, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI New York Field Office, said Tuesday.
Investigators have named a “person of interest” they believe rented a U-Haul van that has been connected to the shooting at the 36th Street subway station in Brooklyn’s Sunset Park.
Frank James, 62, has not been named as a suspect. James has addresses in Wisconsin as well as Philadelphia, where the U-Haul was rented, NYPD Chief of Detectives James Essig said.
“The keys to that U-Haul van was found in the subway in our shooter’s possessions,” Essig said. “We don’t know right now if Mr. James has any connection to the subway. That’s still under investigation.”
The gunman fired at least 33 times and struck 10 people, according to Essig. Overall, 29 people were hospitalized in connection with the shooting with injuries that included gunshot wounds, smoke inhalation or from falling while trying to escape, officials said.
None of the injuries appear to be life-threatening, NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell said.
“We know this incident is of grave concern to New Yorkers,” Sewell said. “We cannot lose sight of victims in this city. We will use every resource we can to bring those to justice who continue to prey on the citizens of New York.”
The motive of the shooting is not yet known. The attack is not being investigated as an act of terrorism but authorities have not ruled out anything, Sewell said, adding the victims have a variety of backgrounds.
“Riders need to feel safe. My members need to feel safe. We don’t just dip in and out of the system. We spend entire shifts down there every day and night. This guy has to be apprehended,” said TWU Local 100 President Tony Utano.
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Piecing together what happened
Evidence collection for the incident “will take some time,” according to Driscoll, but added that he was grateful for the residents and eyewitnesses who have already stepped forward with information.
Investigators have cell phone video from an eyewitness that shows the suspect, a law enforcement source tells CNN.
Within the station, surveillance video may not be available. A preliminary review indicates there was some sort of malfunction with the camera system at the station, Mayor Eric Adams told WCBS Radio.
There are almost 10,000 cameras in the MTA system, including almost 600 cameras on the Brooklyn section where the attack took place, MTA Chair and CEO Janno Lieber told CNN’s Jake Tapper.
“We’re going to work with the NYPD to capture all that video to find out where this criminal may have come in or out of the system,” Lieber said. “And we’re also just reviewing with everybody who is involved, all of the information.”
Investigators found a Glock 9 mm handgun, three extended magazines, two detonated smoke grenades, two non-detonated smoke grenades, a hatchet and the U-Haul key at the scene, Essig said. Two officials told CNN they believe the gun jammed during the shooting.
A credit card that was used to rent the U-Haul was also found, two law enforcement sources told CNN.
Videos linked to James
James talked about violence and mass shootings in the videos, including one uploaded Monday in which he said he’s thought about killing people who have presumably hurt him.
“I’ve been through a lot of s**t, where I can say I wanted to kill people. I wanted to watch people die right in front of my f**king face immediately. But I thought about the fact that, hey man, I don’t want to go to no f**king prison,” he said.
In another video posted last week, James, who is Black, rants about abuse in churches and racism in the workplace, using misogynistic and racist language.
Many of the videos that James uploaded included references to violence, including at a set group of people he believed had maligned him, in addition to broad societal and racial groups that he appeared to hate.
In another video posted last month to the same channel, James said that he had post-traumatic stress. In that video, James said he left his home in Milwaukee on March 20. During the trip eastward, he said he was heading to the “danger zone.”
“You know, it’s triggering a lot of negative thoughts of course,” he said in the video. “I do have a severe case of post-traumatic stress.”
CNN has reached out to James and his family for comment but has not received a response.
CNN’s Brynn Gingras, Mark Morales, Kristina Sgueglia, Rob Frehse, Sharif Paget, Caroll Alvarado, Nicole Chavez, Alaa Elassar, Amir Vera, Eric Levenson, Jason Hanna, Peter Nickeas, Yon Pomrenze, Elizabeth Wolfe, Chris Boyette, David Shortell, Paul P. Murphy, Juan Alejandro Olarte-Cortes, Hannah Rabinowitz and Holmes Lybrand contributed to this report.
Quoted from Various Sources
Published for: The Bloggers Briefing